Supplement may boost athletic endurance

Aug. 30, 2010 at 10:23 PM
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EXETER, England, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A supplement that increases nitric oxide can increase athletic endurance, British researchers have learned.

Researchers at the University of Exeter in England say taking a dietary supplement containing L-arginine amino acid to enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body can significantly boost stamina during high-intensity exercise.

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, suggested taking the supplement can allow athletes to exercise up to 20 percent longer.

"The research found that when the dietary supplement was used there was a striking increase in performance by altering the use of oxygen during exercise," researcher Andrew Jones said in a statement. "This is important for endurance athletes as we would expect the supplement to bring a 1 percent to 2 percent improvement in race times. While this may seem small, this is a very meaningful improvement -- particularly at elite levels where small gains can be the difference between winning and losing."

Jones and colleagues put nine healthy males through several different physical challenges on a cycling ergometer to measure their performance under different levels of exercise intensity.

The study participants were randomly assigned to take either a blackcurrant cordial placebo drink or the supplement -- Ark 1 from Arkworld International Ltd. containing L-arginine amino acid.

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